Hermana Leavitt's Adress

Argentina Pouch:
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
50 E. North Temple
PO Box 30150
Salt Lake city, UT 84130-0150

Hermana Elise Leavitt
Argentina Buenos Aires West Mission
Ballesteros 1076
1706 Haedo
Buenos Aires
(Check buenosaireswest.blogspot.com for specifics on packages; it's a little tricky!)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Amazing companion. amazing convert!

How is life in wonderful Highland?  Everything is wonderful here in Spokane as it continues to get hotter every day, but I love it.  It's exactly like Utah weather.  I have had a lot of learning experiences this week, and I'm excited to tell you about everything that's going on. So first of all, my companion!!
Basically, she's like Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.  Sister Almaraz is one of the sweetest, kindest, best missionaries I've ever met.  She is from West Valley, UT but spent her first five years in Mexico and grew up in a Spanish-speaking home, so she talks just like me but then has perfect, beautiful Spanish.  And it has been sooo good for me, because she really tries to speak Spanish with me as much as possible.  I think my Spanish has really improved in just one short week, even the ward members noticed it on Sunday!  So I feel very blessed about that.  She is the tiniest little thing with a tiny little voice, so we make quite a pair with me and my big brave face and rambuncious ways. :) But then even though she's small and quiet, she has such a powerful way of teaching and is actually really bold. I'm learning so much from her!
And I'm also learning how much I do NOT know the area!  Holy cow, when Sister Ruiz left on Tuesday morning, I was feeling all confident, thinking to myself, "I can do this. I know the Valley pretty well."  Oh how wrong I was!  Sister Almaraz drives because she is the senior companion, and I cannot count how many times I have gotten her lost this week.  But thankfully she's an angel and never gets frustrated or annoyed with me.  And then it's been extremely humbling to be the one "showing the area" as they call it.  I am kind of responsible for all of the people we've been teaching and visiting and making sure that Sister Almaraz meets all the members.  So basically planning sessions at night have been in my hands, and it is really really hard.  I've never prayed so hard in my entire life! But it has really made me grow and be a real missionary which is exactly what I needed.  So cool how Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need.
Anyways, best part of the week . . . . MANUEL'S BAPTISM!! It started out as kind of a disaster when I realized on Friday morning that we hadn't scheduled the font.  So we tried all day to get ahold of the scheduler to find out that the font was already scheduled for all evening on Saturday.  We had already announced it to the whole ward, and I didn't know what we were going to do!  First thing I did was cry in the car. But thankfully, we have the coolest Ward Mission Leader ever, Bro. Lopez, who helped us figure it out, so we ended up moving the baptism to a stake center really far away from our branch, but Bro. Lopez was like, "It's okay, everyone will still come. I know they'll come." And he was right! The Spanish Branch is soooo loyal and after we spent a whole Friday evening calling everyone in the Branch, it all worked out and they packed the house on Saturday for Manuel's baptism!  He was beaming from ear to ear, which is kind of unusual for Hispanic men who always try to act tough. :)  But it was one of the happiest moments of my mission, I couldn't even contain the joy that bubbled up inside of me. He is the first investigator who I knew from day one, and watched progress and grow, and I'm so excited to keep in contact for him forever. 
K gotta run, but I love you all so much!  Thank you for your prayers and love, I pray for and think of you. :)  I know that Jesus Christ lives and truly is the light of life that can brighten our lives if we just embrace His Gospel and follow Him!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Love From Spokane!

Hi dear family!
Thank you for the emails as always, they make me so happy and I feel so lucky to have such awesome family members who write me! So the low-down for this next transfer: First of all, I'm staying here in Spokane Valley!  I am so happy about that because I'll get to watch all of our wonderful investigators continue to progress.  But the sad news is that Sister Ruiz is leaving me!  I have come to love that girl so much, and we were just getting to a point were we really worked well together in teaching and understand all of each other's quirks.  But isn't that how life is?  Just as you get used to things or get good at something,  Heavenly Father lets it get switched up a little so that we can KEEP improving.  On that note, I am VERY excited about my new companion.  I will meet her tomorrow, but I have heard wonderful things about her so far.  Her name is Sister Alverez and she is from Utah.  I guess she was raised in a Spanish speaking home, so she speaks perfect Spanish and English.  Apparently she is the sweetest, nicest sister and I'm really excited to learn from her and also hopefully improve my Spanish a little!
Life here has been wonderful.  And I think I need to explain some of our investigators a little since all of my stories have been a little confusing and mixed up.  So first of all, Mom, to answer your question, Carlos and Eric have been really hard to get a hold of and Annie as well.  So they aren't really progressing at this point, but we will keep trying and who knows!  Amazing things could happen. So the people who are kind of the center of my world right now are Manuel (who is getting baptized this Saturday!) and Alicia and her kids. 
Manuel was the miracle investigator who called us up one day to ask about "a book like the Bible."  We had that first lesson with him, he wanted to get baptized, and it has been a whirlwind of teaching and learning ever since!  I cannot describe how much I love this man.  He is a tiny guy from Mexico, working in the U.S. to provide for his wife and five daughters who live back in Mexico, and he has the sweetest, most loveable way about him.  And I have never seen someone with such a thirst for learning in my entire life. We'll be talking about something, and I'll let something slip like mentioning the Doctrine and Covenants, and he is on it like a shot.  "What's the Doctrine and Covenants?  Where can I get it? It's more revelation?  I want to read it!"  Then one day he called us up and was like, "Why didn't you tell me about the Liahona?!  I need to order this!" And we were thinking, how the devil did he find out about the Liahona??  He wants to get his hands on anything from the church and he loves reading about the modern prophets, not to mention his love for the Book of Mormon. 
And THEN, one day we were talking with him about sharing the gospel with his friends and family (we're always always asking for referals) and he was like, "well I only have my one friend who told me he isn't interested, but I'll keep working on it." Then at our next lesson he brings this brand new friend who he just met and now he's asking for copies of the Book of Mormon to give to his "new friends!"  He is a great example of someone like Enos who, having discovered the joy of the gospel, wants nothing more than to share it with everyone around him. 
Then there's Alicia and her four beautiful kids, and they are truly a miracle in our lives.  Because Alicia grew up in Utah, the whole LDS culture is familiar to her, but she knew nothing about our beliefs.  So when the Elders knocked on her door two weeks ago, it was just totally natural for her to learn more, and she accepts everything with the faith of a child.  She really wants her and her kids to be baptized, but she's apprehensive about setting a date because she really wants to be ready.  I think we take it for granted as members of the church that there is ALOT of information to take in.  There are simple truths that we have grown up with like "God and Jesus are two different people" that most of the world knows nothing about!  So we are having FHE and lessons at members homes trying to teach them everything we can, and I have no doubt that they will be baptized very soon.  Heavenly Father has been preparing Alilcia for this long before we ever came into the picture.   
Today I went fear busting again with the new group of missionaries, and it was AWESOME! We went back to the big beautiful park where I spent my first day in the field and the same place where we met Avery and talked about "Rainbown Parades." :)  My new missionary was so timid and shy, but it was wonderful to go out and just talk with everyone, from homeless people to crazy people to clowns to nice little moms to hippies from Vancouver Island. Now THEY were cool.  We met this couple in the park who were just chillin by their bikes and had just spent two weeks biking from Vancouver, sleeping in sleeping bags and eating on the road.  They were really down to earth and we talked for a long time about their atheist beliefs and our beliefs. I love being a missionary because you get to meet so many cool people!!
Well, I've gotta run, but that's life here in the Spokane Valley.  I love being a missionary more than I could have imagined, and I love sharing this gospel of happiness with the world!  Jesus Christ loves these people so much and I get to see that love and the light of Christ that truly is in them every day of my life.  It's the best thing ever. Love you so much fam!

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's not Buenos Aries, but I love sunny little Spokane Valley!

Thank you so much for the emails and kind, uplifting words.  I don't think you will ever know the strength and faith that they bring to me on the mission. So I'm not sure where to start, but we'll go with yesterday since it was a crazy, INCREDIBLE day. 

First of all, we had the Spanish Branch at 9:00 and it was so wonderful because Manuel came to church again! Agustin picked him and drove him since he has a broken foot, and everyone was so kind and welcoming.  I seriously LOVE the Spanish branch so much.  Before church it's just like a big love fest where everyone's hugging and kissing as if they haven't seen each other in years.  It's the closest feeling to a family that I've ever experienced in a ward, and they really take care of each other.  After Sacrament, we ran off to drive back to our English area for our English ward at 11:00 (that's how every Sunday works), leaving Manuel in the capable hands of our members. 

On the way there, we got a text from two of our Spanish investigators, Marco and Carlos saying that they were coming to the English ward!  I've never mentioned them because they haven't been progressing very much and it's hard to get in contact with them. So we were literally blown away to find out that they were coming to church.  We've been working on that for months, and they would never commit!  But lo and behold, there they were in the foyer 20 minutes early, and we were beyond excited.  (And we have no idea how they knew about the English ward. Next goal is to get them to the Spanish Branch where they can actually understand!) 

The members of the Bowdish (english) ward were incredible and anyone who has ever learned a word of Spanish came up to talk with them and welcome them.  I gave a talk in Sacrament, so Sister Ruiz poor thing was left to translate on the back row for an hour straight. AND a family that we have been teaching came to church as well!  The mom's name is Alicia and she has four beautiful little kids.  They stayed the full three hours and absolutely LOVED it.  So you'll probably be hearing alot more about them, they're one of those "golden families." Alicia is just so open and is kind of similar to Steve in the way that she just accepts and loves everything we teach her about the Gospel.

I can't describe how much I love Sister Ruiz and how much she has blessed my life as a missionary. She is an incredible teacher and never tires of my ceaseless questions.  She is kind and extremely loving, and even though our senses of humor are very different, we've managed to figure each other out and just have the greatest time together.  Laughter is aboslutely necessary for a missionary. :)

Anyways, gotta run, but life is great!  The work here is literally charging forward at full speed and EVERYONE around us getting excited about it.  Members, less-active members, investigators.  Heavenly Father really is at work in Spokane Valley, and it's so fun to be a part of it.  

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pray for Argentine Visas!

Bittersweet news: Buenos Aries West will receive 13 of their 39 visa waiters this week, but Elise and most of her MTC district are still waiting! (One outbound elder has been in a reassigned area since January! It's almost a year since his visa application was submitted.) So Elise is set for another transfer in Spokane Valley. Next possible transfer/travel date is August 28. Call, text or email me for her physical address in Washington. danaleavitt@yahoo.com (801)756-9180.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

More Mini Miracles

Angelica got baptized!  It was a beautiful, wonderful occasion.  Then she came to Sacrament the next day wearing a skirt (which is an absolute miracle!) and received the Holy Ghost.  She has made some incredible changes in her life and I am so so proud of her.  And now she has the Holy Ghost to guide her and direct her, as well as a loving ward family to wrap their arms around her! The Bowdish ward is excellent that way.  She and Steve have become really good friends, so Sister Ruiz and I kind of feel like this couple with two unruly children sitting between us during Sacrament, as Steve makes cheeky jokes and Angelica acts all sassy.  Ah, definitely a little different than the picture-perfect idea of a Mormon family!  But I love them both so much.

Last week, we got a telephone call from a man who speaks Spanish (miracle of century: I actually understand Spanish over the phone now which was ABSOLUTELY impossible for me before) and he said, "I just talked to these two men who said you can bring me a book kind of like the Bible?" I was sooo excited and said, "We can DEFINITELY bring you that book!" So we set up an appointment, and it's been a constant stream of miracles getting to know Manuel ever since.  In our very first I lesson, he just soaked everything right up, and when we invited him to be baptized (which always manages to bring my heart up into my throat with fear or excitement, I'm not sure which) he accepted so readily that we didn't know how to respond!  People don't usually just smile and say "yes" when you invite them to be baptized, so we sat there in a few moments of dumbfounded silence not knowing what to do!  I will definitely keep you updated on Manuel, because he is amazing.  He is scheduled to baptized on July 28!

Man, I'm so sad I can't tell you about the 100 other miracles that have happened this week, but I love you all so much fam!  Thank you for your love in return. :)  This is the hardest and best thing I've ever done, and I love declaring the message that Jesus Christ's church has been restored to the earth!